Sunday, November 8, 2015

Roosevelt and Junction

In honor of Ro's second birthday, I thought I'd share the story behind his name.  It is derived from an experience Wyatt had when was 19-years-old and served a mission for our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Here is the story in Wyatt's words:

Wyatt as a missionary in New York City

I started my two-year mission in September of 1997.  After two-months of Spanish language training at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, I was flown to the New York New York South Mission.  I remember the excitement of the very early morning travel to the airport and the flight to New York City. It was a clear day as we descended and the circuitry of the city stretched out further than anything I had seen before. There was a haze of pollution that gave the buildings an eerie glow.

We landed at JFK airport and were picked up by the missionaries serving in the mission president’s office.  We were asked to retrieve our flip-charts from our luggage and were loaded into a white passenger van.  As we sped through traffic, at times it seemed on two wheels, on our way to an unknown destination in Queens; we were promised that the New York New York South Mission was the best in the world.  It was explained to us as new missionaries, that to thrive in the New Your New York South Mission it was necessary to be fearless.

We pulled into a busy neighborhood. There were tightly constructed homes that lined the street and the noise of the city intensified as we walked to our destination. We came to a street lined by international stores loudly playing Salsa, Meringue and Bachata music.  Every ten-minutes the 7 Train passed overhead along that street on an elevated track drowning out even the loudest music.  The sights and sounds of the city were exciting but also a little overwhelming for me, a quiet kid from Oregon. 

With flip-charts in hand, we walked to a busy corner under a train stop where a group of missionaries were gathered doing what I learned was called a “Street Sweep.”  The idea and function of a Street Sweep was that a group of missionaries would meet in a busy place and try to speak to as many people that walked by as possible.  As we approached, I noticed that in the middle of the group of missionaries someone had placed a milk crate, and I wondered naively what that might be used for. 

We arrived at the group of missionaries and I was given an explanation of the purpose of the milk crate.  My first action as a missionary in the field was to demonstrate my fearlessness.  I was instructed to stand on the crate and preach the gospel.  So, nervously and with some self-doubt, I stepped onto the milk crate, held up a picture of Joseph Smith, and bore my testimony in Spanish. 15-seconds later when I had exhausted my Spanish vocabulary, I tried stepping down.  However, I was told I was not done yet.  So I stayed on the milk crate and repeated what I knew over and over until it was another missionary’s turn.

The name of that busy street was Roosevelt Avenue.  That experience of stepping-up and facing my fears to testify for something right has been a great lesson in my life.  For this reason we gave our son the name Roosevelt.  So that he too might learn to be fearless in his life.

Ro hanging with his favorite person, Dad.

1 comment:

Jeanna said...

I love this story, so glad you both shared it. Fearless!!